Wednesday, December 26

Leinster Motor Club Flag and Anti Doping seminar 29/12/18

Leinster motor club will hold the annual meeting for membership and stamping of licence forms in Mondello Park at 12 noon on 29th December 2018.

Any queries ring Sheila Logan or Karie Grant.

Monday, December 17

2018 Irish Superbike Racing Racer of the Year – Johnny Rea

To win any World Championship is a huge achievement. To retain one is even harder but, 4 back to back championships is an incredible feat considering the international competition in WSBK.

In recognition of his results we’ve awarded current World Superbike Champion Johnny Rea our inaugural title.

Congratulations Johnny!

Words - Andy Quinn
Images - (c) Tom O’Hanlon

Sunday, December 16

Cooper continues for NWR in 2019 International Roads campaign

Swords businessman Noel Williamson will once more take Team NW Racing on the road for 2019, and he has retained the services of Darren Cooper for the second year in a row, on board the BMW 1000 RR. The former Manx Grand Prix winner had a good debut season at the Irish national races, and he also took part in the “Big Three Internationals” with the TT the stand out event. Noel is looking forward to working once more with Darren, and the team will make a number of changes to their racing plans for the 2019 season. Darren will have at his disposal the BMW, and also his 600 and 650 Kawasaki’s. The team will compete in selected national road races, as well as the North West 200, the TT, and the Ulster Grand Prix. The team will now concentrate on more BSB rounds, with Darren competing in the Superstock 1000cc and Supersport 600cc classes. The team will start the new season testing in Spain in March, and the first meeting will be the BSB round in Cadwell Park. The first national road race of the season that Darren will compete in, will be the Tandragee 100.

Noel Williamson; “I am very happy to have the services of Darren once more, as he is one of the best riders that you could you work with. Darren did all that he was asked to do, and we built a very good team around him. I know what he is capable of, and the results in 2018 spoke for themselves. I am looking forward to the start of the new season and testing in Spain”

Darren Cooper; “I am excited to renew my contract with Noel for another season. The team put in a lot of effort in during the 2018 season, and I am really looking forward to starting 2019, knowing what we are going to do, as we now know the bike and the circuits that we had to learn during the season. I am looking forward to working harder on my personal fitness, and also to go pre-season testing in Spain. I am also delighted to have as my personal title sponsor JMC Mechanical and Electrical. 

Jack Corry

Monday, November 26


Derek Sheils and new signing Tom Weeden will spearhead an exciting revamped Burrows Engineering Racing line-up in conjunction with Richardson Kelly Racing in 2019.

Businesswoman and road racing enthusiast Charlotte Richardson grew up with motorcycle road racing with her sister on the Isle of Man. She hails from a family with a motorcycle racing heritage and is looking forward to supporting the Burrows Engineering Racing team for the first-time next year.

Dubliner Sheils has a long and successful association with ex-racer John Burrows’ Dungannon-based outfit, while 24-year-old Weeden from Kent is the latest in a string of promising young riders to join the Burrows Engineering Racing ranks.

The new-look team will focus on the major international road races next year, including the North West 200, Isle of Man TT, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix, in addition to a selection of Irish National meetings.

Sheils and 2016 Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Weeden will ride the latest-spec 1000cc Suzuki machinery, while Weeden will also compete on a Yamaha R6 in the Supersport category.

The team bids farewell to Davey Todd, who made a huge impression on the Burrows Engineering Racing machines in 2018, and team principal Burrows has also placed on record his thanks to outgoing title sponsors Cookstown.

Team Principal – John Burrows:
“We are embarking on a new venture next season and the team will be known as Burrows Engineering Racing in conjunction with Richardson Kelly Racing. We are getting fantastic support and it is something that I am very excited about. I’m delighted to have Derek back on a full-time basis for the three internationals and selected Irish National road races, plus Macau. Derek unfortunately didn’t have a great international run with us in 2017 at the TT especially, and that will be a major priority for us next year and we want to give Derek the chance to show what he can do. I believe there is a lot more to come from Derek and the top ten at the TT is not out of is reach.

“Tom Weeden is new to the team and I have spoken to him a few times in person. I met Tom over at the NEC Show and we are looking forward to welcoming him into the team. Tom won the 2016 Senior Manx Grand Prix and lapped at over 121mph, which is a tremendous speed for a 600cc machine. We hope Tom can make good progress with us next year and although his career has not taken off the way he would have hoped – with a crash at the TT in 2017 putting him on the back foot – I am hoping that we can put the spark back into his career and he is certainly a quality rider.

“Looking ahead to next year, as a team we will be competing in a reduced Irish National race programme and at this moment in time, I have pencilled in Cookstown, Tandragee and Armoy. Davey Todd will be moving on to new pastures next year and we wish him well. Davey is a cracking lad and maybe we will have the chance to work together again in the future. We also say goodbye to Cookstown, who were with me for the best part of 10 years. All good things come to an end at some point and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for us as a team. We decided through mutual consent to part ways and now we are looking forward to a new venture with Richardson Kelly Racing.”

Charlotte Richardson:
“My sister and I were born in the Isle of Man and we grew up with road racing. My dad, Mike Kelly and our step-dad, Eddie Crooks, both raced in the Manx Grand Prix and TT in the late 50's and early 60's. We wanted to give our support to a road racing team and to help some riders progress on the roads.

“My family have grown up with road racing and now we would like to give something back. I’ve been following Tom since before his Manx Grand Prix win, so it is nice to be able to support the team that he will race for in 2019.”

Derek Sheils:
“I’m back riding for Burrows Engineering Racing full-time in 2019 and it’s a team that fits me very well. No one takes themselves too seriously and we have a bit of craic too, but when it comes to the racing everything is prepared down to the last detail and it’s a great set-up. I’ll be riding Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike and Superstock machines for John, although I may look at bringing in a 600 myself, like I did this year.

“I feel like we have done all that we can do at the Irish Nationals so the main thing for me now is to concentrate on the international events. The TT is a big thing for me and hopefully next year we will get a run of luck over there, which has been missing a bit over the last few years.”

Tom Weeden:
“I’m really looking forward to joining the Burrows Racing team for next year and I can’t wait to get going. It will be fantastic to have the chance to ride the big Suzuki and I’ll also have a 600 Yamaha. The team’s reputation speaks for itself when you look at the young riders they have helped to bring on, such as Davey Todd this year, plus riders like Malachi Mitchell-Thomas and Dan Kneen. I hope to absorb as much of John’s knowledge as I can and hopefully learn from him.

“It’s going to be fun to cut my teeth at the Irish Nationals meeting a bit more. I did Armoy for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. The internationals will be the main priority but I’m looking forward to doing the likes of Cookstown and Tandragee as well for the first time. I just want to keep improving and progressing, and going faster than I’ve done before.”

Pictures courtesy: Pacemaker Press and Andy Quinn

Friday, November 23

Jamie Lyons joins British Talent Cup lineup for 2019

Jamie Lyons has been selected as a British Talent Cup candidate for 2019, having swept the board in this years Masters Junior Cup championship. The Dorna bosses were impressed with the results as well as his experience, having competed in 2 seasons of British Youth MotoX.
The British Talent Cup follow the British Superbike calendar as well as taking place at selected high profile rounds of World Superbike and MotoGP in the UK and Spain.
Certainly one to watch next season and for the immediate future too as the 13 year old prepares over the Winter for his toughest challenge yet.
Words - Andy Quinn

Images courtesy of Johnny Sweeney

Thursday, November 22

IMC Snowflake Showdown - Round 2 - Race Report

'Our First Winter Day'

With the wind blowing and rain before race morning began, riders where truly showing support and determination to race on such a cold day. Addition of some new members and some returning faces from our summer championship decided to join us again to race at round two. This lead to some excitement throughout spectating.

BMW Autoparts Junior Gearbox competitors were the first of the grid to race. Due to the wind factor, we hoped this didn’t affect their aspects of racing. Although the kids where thriving to get on track and give their all in the race. Autoparts Junior Gearbox 125cc consistent rider Robert Ronan gave two very strong races gaining two seconds on podium, and overall winner. 140cc rider Jack Ferris yet again gained the overall win.

AJM Car Sales Senior Open class gave us a nail biting two races with Irish Supersport Pro Race Winner Kia McGreevy gaining the overall win. Kia battled with brother BSB rider Korie McGreevy in race one, although Korie had no luck in race two with chain coming off. In second overall was Jordan McCord who also gave two consistent races battling to gain first position in race two.

Ernie Coates Motorcycles Senior Stock 140cc class displayed a fantastic battle on track, between Kyle Cross and Richard McFarland. Both trying to gain podium position. Overall winner of the class was gained by Kyle Cross, displaying strong two races. Not far behind was second overall Richard McFarland.

SB Pitbikes sponsor of the Vets 140cc class showed three determined racers. Nigel Robinson smoothly gaining overall winner, as Graham Ronan and Malcolm Robinson battled throughout both races, fighting for second position. Graham Ronan fought back hard and gained second overall.

Misano Moto Mini GP showed yet again Richard McFarland battling at the front with Ajay Carey and Rossi Dobson. Ajay Carey push up front gaining first overall.

Discount Beds Stock 140cc Group 2 sponsor welcomed some new faces within this group. Consistent at the front of both races and winning overall was new comer Gary Wilson. As the spectators cheered on Sam McFarland fighting his way forward in race one making it a close call to near first position. Race two saw Sam Farland starting off again with a good start, although into the early laps he had an accident, were he was treated, and race had to be restarted. Sam had to be taken to Ulster Hospital for further examination. Michael Thompson also stayed up front finishing third overall.

Temple Tree Services Mini Moto Competitors didn’t have a great race one due two riders Ruben Sherman-Boyd & Leon Scott hitting bike failure. Giving Buster Boyd winning position in race one. Race two lead to Ruben Sherman-Boyd a DNS, although Leon Scott fought back and obtained first position in race two. Overall winner achieved by Buster Boyd.

IMC wish Sam McFarland a speedy recovery.

Photos courtesy of: 

Baylon McCaughey
Two Brothers Photography
Roy Adams Photography  

Krystle Black
Enlightened Promotions

Rhys Irwin to rejoin 2019 British Talent Cup battle

Following the last event of the British Talent Cup season, which ran alongside the final MotoGP event of the year in Valencia Spain, Donegal's Rhys Irwin received the fantastic news that he would once again be on the grid in 2019.

The British Talent Cup is organised by MotoGP promoters Dorna and designed to find fresh talent from the British Isles to promote through Moto3 and Moto2, and on into the MotoGP world championship. Fifteen-year-old Rhys Irwin was the only Republic of Ireland rider on the grid in the inaugural year of the series and the news that he would be back again in 2019 means he will continue to fly the flag for Irish Motorcycle Racing on the world stage.

Irwin's first Talent Cup campaign was a major challenge as he went up against much more experienced rivals, many with previous Moto3 and European Talent Cup seasons under their belt. Having lost track time due to incidents, mechanical issues and the weather induced cancellation of round two, Rhys struggled to build momentum early in the season, but he bounced back to pick up his first two points finishes at event three in Snetterton.

Following Snetterton the BTC made its first appearance on the MotoGP programme, with two support races at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. Qualifying a season best fifth, Rhys scored points for the third race in a row in race one, but his progress was again interrupted when the second race was lost to an event ending downpour. The penultimate round in Assen, Holland, was another tough one as a race one crash left him struggling for track time on the unfamiliar circuit, meaning he could only manage a single thirteenth place finish. The final event in Spain was also affected by the weather, but Rhys one more impressed with his speed and ability.

Following the Spanish finale Rhys was informed that Dorna were delighted with the progress he had made all year especially as he had entered the season with so little experience. In recognition of his performances and ability they then gave him the best possible finish to the season by offering him an invitation to return in 2019.

“I've really enjoyed my first year at this level and with all that I've learned over the season I'm delighted to have the chance to come back next year and use that experience to fight for the championship”, said Rhys after the final weekend of the year. “I know I can challenge at the front more often and was disappointed not to this year, but thankfully the championship organizers were able to see past the issues I encountered and were quick to offer me the opportunity to return again next season. I know I have the speed to win in this championship and I intend to repay the Talent Cup organisers' faith with a determined challenge in 2019.”

Details of the second British Talent Cup campaign have yet to be revealed, but the confirmation that Rhys Irwin will be on the grid means he will once again be the only rider flying the Irish flag at MotoGP World Championship events in 2019.

Rhys will continue to have the use of the MCI owned Honda NSF250R for the 2019 BSB campaign

For more information on Rhys Irwin see

Friday, November 16

Derek Sheils talks Macau GP, Czech TT and 2019 plans

Andy: Looking forward to Macau?

Derek: Ah yeah, great place with a good track and good weather on a fast bike.

Andy: Different beast this year?

Derek: Yeah, back with the Penz13 boys again on the BMW S1000RR that I ran in Horice earlier on this year. And back to a Pirelli tyre too so, we’re going to have to work hard to get the bike setup before practice and qualifying. I had the Burrows GSXR setup nicely last year but, that was on a Dunlop so it’s a big change to get a setup before qualifying.

Andy: Is there much time for practice and setup before qualifying?

Derek: There’s an open practice session where you can come in and out but, it’s hard, especially when you’re trying to get up to speed again after not being there for 12 months. It’s not like you can jump in a car or a van and get laps in because it’s just too busy with bumper to bumper traffic. Also, the weather can change quite quickly so it can be tough to string a quick lap in if it starts to rain. Or even missing a session can be a big problem because it’s so important to get a good qualifying time. We’re also wary of making changes that mightn’t work because you can’t come in and change it back that easily.

Andy: Did you enjoy Horice?

Derek: Aw it’s a brilliant meeting, such a good place and everyone’s out for the craic. Loads of people out drinking beer enjoying motorbikes, sure where could you go wrong! It’s a good track too, not mega fast, like lots of 2nd and 3rd gear turns into 4th in places. It’s very technical, one corner after the next and you don’t get much of a break around the place. Not too many big long straights and that makes it very technical. Great people too, they love their racing over there.

Andy: Who will you stay fit and sharp over the Winter?

Derek: Ah I do a lot of mountain biking but, to be honest after Macau I’m looking forward to a break. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening I’d head off and try and get in maybe 15 or 20k. As well as that I’ll be offroading and doing MotoX or endurance. You find that you go out on a Tuesday night and when you get home you’ve to wash the bike down. Then on Wednesday you’ll be back prepping the bike for the Thursday night and then the whole week is gone. So, probably for a while, I’ll just do the Tuesday night, take a break and then something at the weekend. I need a break, although I get a buzz and enjoy it. It’s not like going to the gym. Mountain biking keeps you fit and it’s relevant to what you’re at but, when you’re at it 2-3 times at night during the week, it can become at bit of a chore. Either way you have to be riding a bike, MotoX or endurance whatever, a gym regime doesn’t really prepare you for what you’re at on a bike at a track.

Andy: I know you won’t tell me but, I’m going to ask you anyway! Any teasers for next season?

Derek: Dead right I’m not telling you! Ah I have a few things that I can look into but, for now just talking is all. We’ll see, if there’s a good deal there, we’ll take it.

Andy: Anyone you’d like to thank for 2018?

Derek:  I’m blessed with some fantastic sponsors. Dunlop tyres, The Roadhouse Macau, Shirlaws Motorcycles Scotland, Daytona, Buddy Auto Electrics, WIZ, Dunshaughlin Motors,, Bespoke Cycles, Eagle Motors, Burrows Engineering, Keohane Citymix and GAZTEC.
Thanks to them for looking after me in 2018.

Words and images - (c) Andy Quinn

Wednesday, November 14

Dunlop Masters Pro rider upgrades

2019 Rider grading changes
Any rider not mentioned in the grading changes will retain the grade that they raced with in 2018.
In addition to the above, the championship organizers reserve the right to add new entrants to the series to whichever class they deem appropriate and to upgrade additional riders once the season commences if necessary.
Any rider switching from Superbike to Supersport or vice versa will retain their grading as per the below list except in exceptional circumstances. In a case where a rider due for upgrade in Supersport swaps to Superbike they may be given a one season exemption from upgrade. All grading decisions shown here apply to Masters races only and can be appealed before the start of the 2019 season.

Chris Campbell
Michael Prendergast
Gary O’Brien
Jamie O’Keefe
Keelim Ryan

Kevin Baker
Eoin Collins
Wayne Sheehan

Images courtesy Mondello Park and Johnny Sweeney

Sunday, November 11

'Young Motorcycle Racer of the Year' Award goes to Caolán Irwin

Following a long and tense wait for the 2018 nominees, since the final shoot-out on October 24th, Caolán Irwin was announced as the recipient of the 2018 'Young Racer of the Year' title at the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship awards ceremony at the Westgrove Hotel in Clane, County Kildare on Saturday night, November 10th. Irwin, from Donegal, follows in the footsteps of previous winners, Jason Lynn and Robert English as he picks up a prize package of support worth more than €10,000, to assist him in furthering his Motorcycle Racing career.

The biggest award in Irish Motorcycle Racing is in its third season and once again benefits from backing from the late Martin Birrane, who passed away in June of this year, Pat Crowley of Dawn International and Peter McMahon of European Industrial Chillers Ltd.. During 2018 the award assisted Jason Lynn to progress his career into the Thundersport GB Championship, culminating in a debut British Supersport Championship appearance at the final round in Brands Hatch in October.

Caolán Irwin began 2018 with the aim of racing in the British Superbike supporting Superstock 600 championship, alongside a campaign in the Masters Supersport Championship, but date clashes saw him compete at the Masters on just two occasions. His first appearance, in April, produced three scintillating performances and a hat-trick of second place finishes, despite riding a Superstock machine against the more powerful Supersport bikes. His speed and the quality of his riding secured the 'Young Racer of the Year' nomination for April and a place in the October shoot-out. A second visit to Mondello Park in October produced another runner-up spot before the twenty year old finally took his maiden Supersport win in the second race of the weekend.

With the seven Masters events completed and seven riders nominated, the decision on who would be crowned the 2018 Young Racer of the Year was made at a one day shoot out, which took place at Mondello Park in late October. During the shoot-out the riders were put through their paces, both on and off the track, with each nominee being assessed in a number of areas. The on-track assessment made up half of the marks awarded, with the other half being split across the two off track categories. Experienced racers Jeremy McWilliams and Jim Halligan assessed the riders ability with their bike, both in the garage and on the track, quizzing them in the garage before observing them from a number of locations around the circuit. Motorcycling journalist and track instructor Paul Browne, assessed each riders presentation of their past and future careers, while communications consultant Gerry Dawson assessed the nominees on their media skills.

When the points from all categories were totaled Irwin came out on top, ahead of what judges described as the closest and best prepared field of nominees so far, having impressed the judges across all categories and scored highest in the track skills and career portions of the assessment. Following the shoot out, the participants had to wait until Saturday night's awards ceremony to hear the result, which was announced as the final award of the night.

Speaking after the announcement Caolán Irwin said, “I cant believe I've won this award. This will make such a difference to our plans for next year as we now have the backing to commit to returning to the BSB paddock. Finding funding for Motorcycle racing in Donegal is extremely difficult but this award will hopefully help us to secure the remaining funds we need to complete a full season again next year. I have so many people to thank, not least of all my family who have funded most of this years campaign and allowed me to be in a position to win this award. I have to thank the judges and Mondello Park for organising this fantastic competition and I'm looking forward to representing the sponsors to the best of my ability during 2019.”

Jim Halligan, representing the competition judges, also had this to say about Caolán and the standard of the competition in general. “The standard was the highest we have seen so far in the competition and we believe our choice of winner should get to the very top, as will many of the nominees. But unfortunately there can only be one winner.

Mondello Park, the competitions supporters and the winner Caolán Irwin will agree a plan for the next stage of his career over the coming weeks and are all looking forward to working together to help Caolán continue his progress in the British Superstock championship.

For more information see

Words - Motorsport promotions

Images - Mondello Park and Andy Quinn